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    Threes!:Game, Review

    A while back, I used to have to commute on the bus for an hour to get to work. Some people might take that time to learn a hobby. Others might read books. Yeah, said I. Self-improvement is for people who aren’t already perfect. I played Threes!.

    It’s this charming little nugget of a mobile game, simple as you can get and easy to learn. All that’s required from you is a swipe left, right, up or down and all the little numbers on-screen obligingly follow. The goal is to combine them into ever-increasing figures: first a 1 and a 2, and from then on it’s 3+3, 6+6 and so on until you get a nice big three-digit one and you mess it all up in your excitement.

    Now it’s on Xbox One which is strange, given its handheld debut, but it remains as compelling and addictive as it did on the 453 to Marylebone. You can snap it to the side and multitask while you watch Netflix, if you feel like all  House of Cards is lacking is the occasional “ooh!” of a saucy integer.

    Ah, we forgot to mention that all the numbers are sort of people. They each have a personality, and little faces, and they like to make their feelings known. People might think you’ve got an imaginary cast of nutters in your living room, but who cares?

    That’s what sets Threes! apart: on the surface, it’s just a sweet, time-wasting puzzle game, but it’s surprisingly characterful and odd. The number 384 tricky to get to for newcomers is called Capt. Triad. According to his little bio, he “conquered the seas without an orange”, returning with “news of ants as a viable source of Vitamin C”. Who could have thought we’d have such fondness for a number?

    The music is charming, too slightly sinister, but catchy as hell; it’s like something you’d hear on a TV show about someone really nice who also strangled kittens in their spare time. More importantly, it’s something you can easily spend hours listening to and never really get tired of it.

    Threes! is elegant, clean and horribly, life-ruiningly easy to get hooked on but whether or not it works perfectly on a home console is another matter. We still find ourselves reaching for the easy mind-numb of the app on our phones over having to open it up and snap it on top of whatever we’re doing on Xbox. Plus, our incredible, amazing, unbeatable and definitely real high scores don’t get carried over, so we can’t be insufferable braggarts.


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